How to Prevent and Eliminate Odor in High Heels and Shoes

We’ve all got a favorite pair of go-to high heels that we love to wear. They fit great, make us 4-6 inches taller, and match most of the outfits we own. However, the more we wear our favorite pair of pumps, the more you may notice that they’re beginning to smell so bad your dog won’t even go near them.


Even though you don’t play sports or go to the gym in them, (well most of you anyway!) high heels are not immune shoe odor! Overuse, sweat, skin shedding, dirt, bacteria, fungus, and a lack of aeration can all contribute to really stinky shoes. And nobody likes the smelly kid, no matter how good she looks in those stilettos. But fear not, you don’t have to part with your favorite pair if you follow our tips to preventing and eliminating shoe and high heel odor!


How to Prevent and Eliminate Odor/Smell in High Heels or Shoes


Breathable Fabrics allow Shoes to Breath – Lets face it, high heels are not always made of the most breathable materials, especially if they are not high quality. Plastic, rubber, synthetic leather are all materials that can cause your feet to sweat, build up bacteria and eventually smell.


When considering what type of shoe to buy, you can both consider materials such as leather, cotton, linen and hemp that are a bit more aerated, or you can choose a style of shoe that is more open or breathable such as a sandal or strappy heel. If air can get in and circulate, moisture and bad smells won’t accumulate and get trapped.


Alternate Your Shoes to Eliminate Build-Up


Give your shoes a break every once in awhile. Not wearing the same pair of heels or shoes twice in a row, especially during hot summer months where your feet can and will sweat, will give your shoes a chance to air out and breathe. We’re confident you’ve got more than one pair of black pumps buried in your closet. Give them a chance to shine. Putting your foot into wet or damn shoes is probably the worst thing you can do for both your shoes and feet.


Use an Anti-Bacterial Spray on Your Shoes Regularly


This is something I really wish more people did on a regular basis because most people don’t realize how much bacterial accumulates in their shoes from daily use. An anti-bacterial shoe spray is one of the best ways you can eliminate shoe odor by preventing the microorganisms that cause it. Not only does it keep your shoes bacteria free, it helps to prevent issues that will affect your own feet such as infections and foot fungus.


Solemates creates an amazing and all-natural, anti-bacterial shoe spray called Freshen. Solemates Freshen contains no harsh chemicals to damage your feet or shoes, and is safe for every day use. It dries quickly and not only removes gross odors in your heels and shoes, it prevents new odors from occurring. It can be use in heels or sandals traditionally worn with without socks, and is also amazing when used on every day sneakers, including kids/adults gym shoes and cleats.

solemate high heel odor eliminator



You can check out Solemates Freshen here.



Dry Your Shoes/Heels to Prevent Odors


Dampness caused either by outside moisture, water, or your own sweaty feet is enough to attract bacteria, mold, and fungus that will take up residence in the sole of your heel. Don’t throw wet or damp shoes in the bottom of your closet. Keep them in an area where they can and will dry quickly and air out, including outside on your porch. You can even help certain pairs of shoes by using a cold blow dryer or throwing them in the dryer.


Practice Personal Hygiene to Prevent Shoe Odor


If bacteria or fungus is causing your shoes to smell, do your best to make sure it doesn’t get into your shoes in the first place by washing your feet regularly. Standing in the shower while the soap runs down to your feet may not be enough to really clear away the dirt and contaminants. Give them a good soaping with an anti-bacterial soap, make sure your toenails and in between your toes are well washed. Dry them with a towel and don’t forget to moisturize to keep them soft and healthy.


Use Deodorant or Antiperspirant on your Feet


If your feet sweat a lot, why not use an antiperspirant to help keep the sweating down to a minimum. If your feet tend to smell a lot, you may even want to try using a deodorant to keep the bacteria at bay. Just be sure these products are not adding to your problem.


Clean Dry Socks at All Times


Even though they may look clean, trust us, they’re not. Socks are an article of clothing, in addition to things like undergarments, that you should only wear once before washing. You may get away with wearing a pair of jeans or a shirt several times before throwing it in the wash, but never re-wear worn unwashed socks. Used socks are included in the articles of clothing that are not accepted as donations by charity or clothing drives, and for good reason. They’re a bacteria/fungus playground.  


Also, whenever possible, wear socks while wearing shoes. Not wearing socks, especially in covered shoes like sneakers and boots can contribute to bad smells quickly since there is no cotton to wick away the sweat and microorganisms.


Freeze Your Shoes to Kill Smell Causing Bacteria


Something you may not know but can help shoes as a last resort if they outright reek... is to freeze them. That’s right. Put your shoes, or at least your shoe soles, into heavy duty, freezer-size plastic bags and put them in your freezer overnight. This will kill any fungus or bacteria causing the odor.   Not keen on putting your heels in the freezer? Throw them into your car truck for a few days when the weather is extremely cold out. It will have the same effect.


Replace Insoles


Sometimes bacteria and fungus can embed itself into the fibers and pores of your insoles. Consider taking them out and washing them often, or even replacing them.


Washing Your Shoes


If your shoes are washable, give them a bath. You can get leather and fabric cleaner to clean up shoes that are not washer friendly, or else, if they’re machine safe, throw them into the washing machine or submerge and hand wash them in a detergent bath. Be sure not to accidentally bleach your shoes, and make sure they are completely dry before reassembling the shoes and wearing them again.

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